Published on Political Affairs pa, by Dan Kovalik, December 9 2010.
… No matter how you count, it is clear that the current Af-Pak and Iraq wars will cost this country well over $1 trillion. A modest proposal for cutting the deficit would be to start there, and to try at all costs to spare social spending for the growing needy in our country.
As Noam Chomsky explains, the reason the war is not up for debate is the fact that there has been a political consensus between the two parties since World War II that the U.S. economy would continue to be primed through military spending rather than social spending — social spending having the disadvantage, from the point of view of those who rule this country, of distributing wealth downward rather than upward.
Military spending, on the other hand, amounts to a regressive tax which requires the vast majority of working people to subsidize what President Eisenhower decried as “the military-industrial complex” — that is, high tech companies, weapons manufacturers, and the new proliferation of mercenary organizations (e.g., Black Water, DynCorp and many more) receiving lucrative defense contracts. Further, this spending allows the U.S. to engage in military efforts abroad fought (despite the more lofty goals claimed) in the interests of allowing such corporate interests to expand their markets, and increase their profits, even more.
It is this type of corporate welfare system, along with periodic bank bailouts and tax cuts for the super-rich, which suits the two political parties just fine. Welfare for the truly needy, however, is generally abhorrent to them, and thus the limited nature of the current debate about the federal deficit.
Of course, for those of us concerned about basic notions of fairness and justice, and for those of us who are literally dying at the hands of this system, this state of affairs is completely unacceptable, and must be resisted. A good place to start would be the December 16 anti-war demonstration in Washington, D.C. For more information, go to Stop These Wars . (full text).